What I think is, that I have a fear of being ... well ... normal. There. I said it.
I have a deeply conventional, conservative nature. Yet somehow, someone, somewhere planted a seed that made me think being like everyone – or actually even like anyone – else, was tacky, less than was expected of me, insufficient. OK, that sounds like my father speaking, so it was probably him.
I am my mother’s Girlguide Leader, Member of Pony Club Parents’ Committee, lover of afternoon tea, clean floors and red geraniums. I am my father’s rebel, world changer, chapel goer, non conformist, ranter, raver and putter of the world to rights, lover of spices, wild flowers, and anything remotely connected with a horse.
My feet don’t match, you know. I have one square, level, spade of a foot, like my fathers’ were, and one pointy vaguely disfigured, tortured foot, like my mothers’ were. An allegory for my life, my feet are.
My mother in me is now prepared to send the girls to school, to pitch in to help this family survive the tough times, to acknowledge that while the material things in life are not the be all and end all, that our treasure should be stored in heaven, but that nevertheless, survival is kind of key, and around here, with the gazillion volunteer hours I donate, and homeschooling, and the farm, I am out of hours to allocate to gainful employment.
My father in me, rages against this slow capitulation, wants to homeschool in splendid isolation, at odds with the world, and yet in possession of all that is really good and true, in a stolen seascape at dawn, a wild ride across a moor, a garden to feed the poor, and nurture the damaged and unloved, and trusting to God and all His angels to feed and house us, despite the hike in rent.
What will happen, as it did when they were here on this earth, is this:
My heart, and wild soul, my father in me, will fight this battle for years yet, convinced he leads, convinced we follow, adrift on a combative ocean of life’s challenges, fighting the wind and the rain, tired and dry eyed with a firm belief in the impossible.
Meanwhile, my mind, and earthly body, my mother in me, will have paid the school fees, replaced the car, sorted out the garden, and have laid tea, with lemon not milk, and very small scones, and fruitloaf, awaiting the return of the wanderer.
And at the moment when they sit down together, close to the fire, by a sleeping dog, and the rebel turns, onto an overworked hip which compensates for a damaged back, and raises woeful eyebrows at the keeper of the family hearth – it will all begin to make sense.
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